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Compliance Study: France

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"We actively support the process of economic and political transition under way for over five years in Central and Eastern Europe."


The Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin met with Alain Juppe in Paris on 25-28 November 1996 to discuss various projects for cooperation. A banking convention opening up a $300 million (US) line of export credit for Russia was signed as well as an agreement on debt rescheduling. On 16-17 January 1997, the President of the French Republic, accompanied by more than a dozen French business executives, visited the Hungarian capital of Budapest for the first time since the fall of communism in Europe. He publicly addressed such issues as NATO, business relations between the region and France, and the Francophonie. Chirac proposed that Hungary might be able to join the European Union by the year 2000. He supported fully Hungary's bid to join the NATO alliance. Chirac has also planned trade missions and state visits to Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania in 1997.

Chirac invited the Georgian President to visit Paris on 4-5 February 1997 to discuss cooperation regarding the training of Georgian military officers, the protection and attraction of foreign investment, and further cooperation in cultural, scientific and technical areas.

France, supported by Canada and Germany, has stated clearly that it does not agree with the recently announced White House policy that three and only three Central and Eastern European countries are presently being considered for NATO membership (Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic). France is of the position that there are others, notably Romania, that are quickly becoming eligible and should not be ruled out and alienated. NATO enlargement should proceed at a steady pace; one that is acceptable by Russia as well as the original Alliance partners. Chirac proposed on 27 May 1997 at a NATO-Russia Summit in Paris that all European states which will have links with NATO in the future should be invited to attend the upcoming Atlantic Alliance Summit in Madrid in July.

France has thus clearly made headway in actively supporting the processes of transformation in Eastern Europe, both politically and economically. Despite the fact that such active involvement in the region is not entirely altruistic, France receives a +1 on East-West relations.

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